Comments

  1. shoop-a-la-poop says

    The youtube episode is pretty messed up.. the video doesn’t start til around 15 minutes but more importantly the audio is completely out of sync.. basically unwatchable. The audio is ok but I do prefer watching these things.. is it possible to re-upload it?

  2. Cedric Vanderlinden says

    Hi there,

    I’m a long-time follower and never commented, but this time I felt compelled: that was Don’s best, funniest, most apropos Failures yet. It kicked ass.

    Keep up the fantastic work, all of you!

  3. Mac Dude says

    If god is all powerful, and churches support people’s faith in god, and god will interact with reality (e.g. answer prayer, control hurricanes), then surely god is powerful enough to have churches find sufficient financial support without the government needing to give them property and income tax exemptions. Isn’t it?

    Josh’s premise is a take on the Kalam Cosmological Argument and suffers from the same issue. If the argument or premise leads to an infinite regression and for some reason that’s a problem, then it’s a problem with the argument and the argument is fundamentally flawed. You can’t just use god/magic to solve the fundamental flaw in the argument by sidestepping it.

    Calvin was twisting himself into a pretzel trying to keep from admitting the bible is full of immorality. Hopefully he will think about the conversation after the show and start to question what the bible actually says… I’m not holding my breath.

  4. says

    calvin opened his call clearly expecting to be able to agree to disagree. you have your opinion, i have mine, so as long as everything all comes out as a wash, we can all sing kumbaya together …

    if nothing else, i think he realizes he called the wrong show.

  5. Briana says

    Calvin was an awesome caller. We need immoral christians like him to call in and expose their embrace of evil rather than honestly calling their god evil. The god in the bible is a monster. Is it really so hard to embrace equality between the races and sexes? Apparently it is for Calvin.

  6. Monocle Smile says

    Tara was a bit sad. What a garbage dump of bad apologetics. “Let me explain X, but I’m not interested in proving or even touching on any evidence for X.” Tara doesn’t understand what “explain” means. I get that indoctrination is strong, but thirty seconds of thinking should cut through at least most of that crap.

    LOL Tara is a JW, or at least most of one. A trans woman as a JW? Head asplode.

    Thanks to the hosts for slapping down the Hawaiian troll.

    Josh’s argument is a gigantic clusterfuck borne of reading a couple of philosophy books and zero science. Premise 1 is horribly malformed, premise 2 appears unfalsifiable, and the conclusion has fuck all to do with anything related to gods. And of course, now we have special pleading and appeals to the bible for no reason. If anything, Josh has done negative work and seems to think he’s accomplished something. This godbot doesn’t know anything about anything; another fast talking preacher used to dealing with a captive audience.

    Ugh. Catholic apologetics. Fell asleep after about ten words. It’s all assertions (Catholics think that an argument, however terrible, is the same as a demonstration) and word salad; none of the terms have any concrete definitions independent of other Catholic terms. There’s no grounding in any real epistemology; it’s all made up shit stacked on more made up shit. I could go on an epic tirade about the intellectual nihilism of Catholic philosophy, but I’ll save that for if Josh shows up peddling that nonsense here on the blog.

  7. MoSH says

    What is it with the jumps in the podcast audio files? It happens all the time and makes it very hard to listen to the show, I’m afraid.
    E.g. around the 66 minute mark, Matt says “And objective morality is not the same thing as moral absolutes.”
    This is fine in the video.

    In the audio files however, he says “And objective morality is not the same thing absolutes.”

  8. Monocle Smile says

    Well, I went ahead and called the other callers “disasters” before getting to Calvin. When you hit bottom, don’t start digging, Calvin.

  9. Don Baker says

    On some technical issues:
    1) A few hours after the show is aired, the streamed video on YouTube is edited “in place” to clip the dead video ahead of the show. During this processing, which takes about an hour, the video and audio are out of sync.
    2) We’ve had a number of complaints about skips. We’re in the process of isolating the cause, which is, unfortunately, which is “upstream” from the podcast audio and product DVDs. We’re trying to address it. Thanks for pointing out the problem and especially helping to locate specific examples.

  10. Don Baker says

    I’ve been corrected on a physics issue on the call with Chuck. Protons apparently don’t decay as I had claimed. Free neutrons do, however. Perhaps using the conversion of matter to energy in stars would have been a better counterpoint to Chuck.

  11. says

    could not comprehend how a trans woman could continue to believe that rubbish, given the marginalsation that churches do to trans people

  12. HappyPerson says

    wow, does Tara now hold the record for the number of times being stumped by matt’s logic? i pity her a lot. wish she would rewatch her call as she does seem somewhat fair-minded and just see how irrational she is being. she does mention that she might be irrational but wanting to believe is a very powerful thing.

    i would have wanted to hear more about this ‘steering’ business. how does one konw that one’s ‘path’ is being guided by some supernatural force? what does this guiding entail? does it mean sometimes other people are controlled by ‘god’ to interact with me in certain ways? does ‘god’ give us physical signs to point in particular directions? seems like tara is a classic example of how we are ‘pattern’ seeking creatures, and perhaps a good example of confirmation bias in action.

  13. Jaroslav@Amsterdam says

    I wonder why, in the question about morality, Matt never used the argument of the universal criterium defined by Jean-Paul Sartre : to answer if an action is moral or not is to answer the question “what if everyone did the same ? “

  14. says

    I’m pretty sure Tara is a JW. When asked about the “good news” she didn’t start in on the usual “Jesus died for your sins” stuff, she started talking about the coming kingdom. I think that’s a giveaway. Also, I think that JW’s are supposed to get in a certain quota of time proselytizing, and I wonder if she’s going to count her time on the show towards that.

    With the Catholic apologetic guy, I think I would have needed to start with my box metaphor. Before starting to discuss the argument, agree to put it in an imaginary box for a few minutes, and then ask some background questions about the caller. When did he become a Catholic? When did he learn that argument? If he had never learned that argument, would he still be Catholic? If the Pope told him personally that his argument was invalid, and didn’t prove anything, and that he had to stop using it, would he still be a Catholic? Because if he were Catholic before learning it, and would still be Catholic without it, then what’s in the box isn’t relevant to the question of why he believes what he believes. We can throw out the box unopened, and save ourselves a lot of pointless word salad and equivocation.

  15. ironchops says

    I don’t see a problem with the churches asking for FEMA money to rebuild as long as all other non-profit organizations, including any secular or atheist ones get an equivalent response. If churches get money than all get money, if they apply. If churches are denied the funds then deny all non-profit requests.

  16. Monocle Smile says

    @Ubi
    We’re on the same page. I’ve started getting ahead of theists and asking them questions before they dump a truck full of apologetics on my feet. “If this argument were shown to be wrong, would you still believe in god?”
    Say they use the big bang as evidence of “in the beginning” from Genesis. “If the universe were actually steady-state, would you still believe in god?” I always (and I mean ALWAYS) hear “yes.” None of the apologetic arguments have any effect on their belief in god, so there’s no point in even talking about them.

  17. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Monocle Smile #16:

    before they dump a truck full of apologetics on my feet. “If this argument were shown to be wrong, would you still believe in god?”

    Someone once tried to defend bigfoot to me on grounds that there’s just *so much* crappy evidence, there must be something to it. For that, there’s the counter that advances and proliferation of camera technology have improved the quality of photos in general, yet curiously sightings interpreted as bigfoot are still crap.
     
    Likewise god seems to have become awfully evasive over the years to only have such tenuous evidence.
     
    More recently, the Clinton Body Bags / Seth Rich stories. It *must* have something to it because look at all those names. Even if they’re all bunk – and originated from a crappy source, in a generic formula that could (and has) applied generically to any famous person (doesn’t make it wrong!) – they said they still believed the premise that they must’ve had someone killed.
     
    Despite my arguing against this, citing a lengthly snopes fisking (which of course they questioned the legitimacy of), minutes later – out of habit apparently – they made an in-group signalling joke about Comey not wanting to investigate emails for fear of an untimely death. I made it plain that I didn’t understand the joke. The punchline only made sense in light of famously fake news taken seriously. “I… don’t hang around people who would say that.”

  18. Monocle Smile says

    @Sky Captain
    It’s the old “if there’s smoke, there’s fire” canard that is only somewhat true in specific circumstances. I get what you’re saying about in-group signaling. It’s just a display of the absence of all self-awareness.

    Speaking of Clintons, the Vince Foster thing came up last year, and it was the first I’d heard of it. That’s evidently where the “Killary” nickname originated before being transferred to Benghazi.

    I read about that whole ordeal, and at the end, I couldn’t find a significant role for the Clintons, and more importantly…a motive. What reason did anyone, let alone the Clintons, have to murder Foster? More digging, and apparently some people created a conspiracy about a conspiracy to fabricate a motive. They went Conspiraception. Apparently SIX(!) federal investigations, several of which I believe were sparked by some of these conspiracy theorists, were not enough.

  19. RationalismRules says

    I’m pretty certain Calvin will not go away and think about any of the issues covered in his call. I’m betting his only takeaway will be “atheists are rude”.
     
    Tara… it’s all about god proving that his way is the right way. Proving it to whom? To humans? To Satan? How does this notion of god ‘proving’ anything to anyone accord with anything else in the bible ever? Where is the biblical account where god says to someone “well I say you should do it my way, but if you think your way is better, you go ahead and we’ll see who’s right”.
    The biblical god is much more “well I say you should do it my way, so DO IT MY WAY YOU WORM OR I’LL FUCK YOU UP… YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY… FOR ETERNITY.”

  20. indianajones says

    @Ironchops
    When churches have open accounting books and open up all their records about fucking children and also stop doing that, then I’ll consider them to be in the same bucket as other non-profits.

  21. Tristan says

    Is it weird that I’m a Pagan, but I love this show?
    Honestly, you make my day and crack me up when I listen to you. I don’t know how you do this everyday because I just couldn’t handle it.
    If you guys would ever like to talk to me about my Paganism, specifically Druidry, I’m totally open to answer any questions! I don’t want to convert anyone, but it’d be nice to have the opportunity to dispel any rumors or common misconceptions people have about Pagans.
    Keep up the awesome work, guys!

  22. kimsland says

    Lots of comments but no or usually no replies to anyone’s comments.
    When I read, we disallow comments on YouTube for these reasons, BUT come here and chat about deluded and immoral Calvin, EXCEPT if you ever do get a reply from someone well that’s probably a very lucky day (or religious miracle if it were Don or mythical god forbid, Matt).
    This is where ‘Internet’ YouTube open conversation does actually have its benefits, plus conversations is the other half of YouTube (the first is the vid itself).

    So how about that Calvin guy hey? Wow, just goes to show how deluded someone can be (leading comment, created to allow a dialogue of agreeing or viewpoints on civil conversations, leading towards an amicable outcome or not).

    But NOPE, that’s it. No Don, No Matt No no one replying, as we are NOT on YouTube now! We are not in Kansas now folks.
    Do you know that others also upload your Atheist Experience to their channels? I mean it is a FREE org company, NO profit. GUESS WHAT? Comments galore all over the vid, yet the up loaders channel still exists? OBVIOUSLY comments aren’t effecting it then!
    NO need for comments that only creates lots of Likes and possibly dis-likes. NOPE none of that, as its all non-profits, therefore NO comments (you forgot to state this is likely the most valid reason even if you hate the idea of this reality, but I know).

    So how about that Calvin? Oh yeah I feel like a delusional Christian talking to themselves.
    You may call this negative negative negative, I call this halving (well less actually) getting your information out there. Just ask Calvin, he had never even heard about it until his (real) friend told him.

    What will this accomplish? Absolutely nothing, as you guys fell there are valid REASONS for not having comments on YouTube! I prefer the truth, so we are at odds.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @kimsland
    Let the door hit you on the way out. This is an old, tired conversation, and you’ve brought up nothing but old, tired points.

    They tried enabling comments not too long ago. All ‘discussion’ was immediately drowned out by butthurt trolls whining about disabled comments and throwing out “SJW/ISLAM/ATHEISM PLUS” bullshit. There was no value added. Experiment over.

    There are facebook discussion groups, including an official one, but apparently that’s too much effort for you.

  24. mathew thompson says

    Is God really as powerful, intelligent, everywhere, and yet nowhere according to the Bible? Or are those simply characteristics theists made up, or exaggerated, later to isolate themselves from scrutiny?

  25. Woody says

    I have yet to see a valid reason to have open comments on youtube. If the video is the least bit socially liberal, the commenting community is poisonous. Since no one at AA is interested in monitoring the channel as their day job, there really isn’t any value there.

  26. Sp00ky BedHair says

    Invitation to #21 kimsland,
    and anyone else who is interested in live chatting when the show is on.
    We are refugees from the ustream chat after the AXP stopped streaming on the ustream channel.
    Please join us by downloading Discord from https://discordapp.com/ and then click on the following invite https://discord.gg/aaX52dD

    It’s available 24/7 but people tend to turn up and watch the show on YT, and live comment on Discord when the show is on.
    Any and All are welcome.

    Here are my previous posts from https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2017/10/01/open-thread-for-episode-21-38-russell-and-john/

    Post #No2
    Sp00ky BedHair says
    October 1, 2017 at 9:03 pm
    So, what’s going on with ustream, and more importantly the ustream chat. I often find the ustream video a bit glitchy, so I pop out the chat, close the vid, and watch the YouTube video. YT has about 1700 people on it, ustream has a community of about 30 to 50 people, and many, if not most come back week after week. The YT chat flies by so quickly, but the ustream chat is small enough to have a proper discourse. If it goes I will really miss it, and the people on it. The show and the chat was something to look forward to. I hope it doesn’t go. The moderator dargndorp is fantastic too. My Sunday will not be the same, and I will have lost many friends.

    Post #27 Says
    Sp00ky BedHair says
    October 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm
    Hello to all former ustream chat community (and any other interested party)
    Dargndorp has set up a place we can chat as usual (Yippee). You have to install discord –
    https://discordapp.com/
    and then click on the following link to get to Dargndorps server
    https://discordapp.com/invite/VjGFtc2
    If I’ve messed up the links I’ll put up corrections later.
    Otherwise I hope to see friends old and new there.
    Note to the AXP, I hope you don’t mind and will allow this attempt to keep our community together.
    Thanks

    Post #29 says (in a reply to DJ van der Veer Post,#28),
    Sp00ky BedHair says
    October 4, 2017 at 8:36 pm
    DJ van der Veer,
    Come and join us, just follow the links in post #27, hope to see you there.

  27. ash220 says

    I have a request from anyone who thinks they have good talking points for me to use with my family. My parents raised my siblings and me in Christianity and I have recently become athiest. I have told my parents and ever since my dad wants me to go see a religious painting of mother mary that leaks oil or myrhh. He thinks that this will help convince me of god. I need some good anologies or talking points that will debunk so called miracles like this. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

  28. RationalismRules says

    @kimsland

    I call this halving (well less actually) getting your information out there. Just ask Calvin, he had never even heard about it until his (real) friend told him.

    How would allowing comments on YouTube make any difference to how many people know about the show? You do understand that if you’re commenting on a YouTube vid you must already know that vid exists, right?

    You seem to have some magical thinking going on there.

  29. Seun says

    I feel that Matt was very mean to the last caller. He got mad at the nervous first time caller for holding exactly the same views that his Christian apologist friends hold. Don Baker was clearly uncomfortable. I hope Matt’s wife gives him a good talking to. 🙂

  30. Devocate says

    “I don’t see a problem with the churches asking for FEMA money”

    Seems to me, if a CHURCH is destroyed by an “Act of God”, said church should take the hint.

  31. Ethan Myerson says

    @21:

    Do you know that others also upload your Atheist Experience to their channels? I mean it is a FREE org company, NO profit. GUESS WHAT? Comments galore all over the vid, yet the up loaders channel still exists? OBVIOUSLY comments aren’t effecting it then!

    I have absolutely no idea what point you’re trying to make here. It sounds like you feel the AXP crew has some reason for disallowing YouTube comments other than the obvious (and stated) reason: It’s a colossal pain in the ass to moderate comments in several locations, so they stick the ones that make it easiest. That’s here and Facebook.
    .
    Regarding the show this week, I thought it was a good one. We had an instance of this weird class of characters – the kind that says, “I don’t consider myself a Christian, but rather a follower of Christ” and then goes on to use nothing but religious Christian dogma. What is meant to be accomplished with the attempt at distancing themselves from the religion, if they then go on to use the standard religious apologetics and talking points?

  32. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Devocate #24:

    Seems to me, if a CHURCH is destroyed by an “Act of God”, said church should take the hint.

     
    ” ” ”
    When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin – the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike anyone, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape.
     
    But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the “iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,” Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God’s wrath at the “iron points.” In a sermon on the subject he said, “In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.”
     
    Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.
    ” ” ”
    -Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

  33. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    kimsland reminds me of someone I’ve come to notice in the utube live chat that makes mention of the utube comment section being off but they seem much more articulate than they were(may be due to more character allowance.)

    Whether it’s them or not, the fragrance of deceitful expression remains the same. The less platforms for trashy athiest trolls to use, the better, imo.

  34. daniel henrique paschoal says

    Read in isaiah 11 that speaks of the animals that will be transformed and in 1 conrintios 15 51 that speaks of the humans that will be transformed and Darwin talks about the evolution of the animals, is that the two things do not go together, think a little without anger or hatred, will be that Darwin was not right just like this in the bible

  35. Murat says

    @Sky Captain #17

    Someone once tried to defend bigfoot to me on grounds that there’s just *so much* crappy evidence, there must be something to it. For that, there’s the counter that advances and proliferation of camera technology have improved the quality of photos in general, yet curiously sightings interpreted as bigfoot are still crap.

    ¨
    With all due respect for the requirement of good evidence, I tend to separate some popular beliefs from others. Much as I am aware there is no sufficient proof to think there really is a Bigfoot or the Monster of Loch Ness, I find it quite misleading when such claims are packed the same as PizzaGate, Clinton Body Bags, Area 51, etc.
    I believe that the term conspiracy theory is being used as too huge a blanket to actually get to the bottom of each rumor / legend / claim.
    Some of these things are functional in daily politics, hence, deliberately pushed by certain groups, whereas others arise from naivety, wishful thinking or lack of scientific knowlegde… And, some may even actually be true!
    For example, the Monster of Loch Ness, a.k.a. Nessie, is one such legend that I’d always hesitate to call “nothing but a hoax”. Because the depth of the lake is unique in the way it provides a certain kind of aquatic life with its level of pressure, fauna and flora; and the legend was born way before fossils of prehistoric underwater creatures compatible with such environment were discovered. Had it been an ordinary lake, we could dismiss the whole thing as a “fable” easily. But even if all the modern spottings (anything claimed to have been documented after the invention of the camera) are hoaxes, it is still very plausible that a group of such creatures may have inhabited that lake long after all other examples of their kind have gone extinct. So, we have at least a geographical compatibility to back the belief.
    And in the case of Bigfoot, though it seems many so-called spottings indicate to black bears, who are known to move bipedally, the vastness of the woods in many parts of North America allows the possibility of some (almost) extinct species still not being discovered.
    ¨
    In other words, much as we would be surprised to one day discover that Bigfoot or Nessie had actually lived during times when there was human population in their habitat, we need not be shocked. Because such a knowledge would not dramatically change the way we understand biology, goeography or any other field of science. As nothing about them contradicts with the basics, we’d just to need to adjust the existing bulk of knowledge and narration to match with the new findings.
    ¨
    I know that you were making a totally different point in that post, but on the side I just wanted to express that I have a problem with every unsupported claim being treated the same, especially when categorized under conspiracy theory or similar titles, because I believe they do differ in nature… And some people or reason, such as Aron Ra, seem to tag every such claim a bit too easily, which I find problematic in the long run.

  36. Devocate says

    “I have a problem with every unsupported claim being treated the same, especially when categorized under conspiracy theory”

    “Conspiracy theory” doesn’t mean a nonsense idea that shouldn’t be believed. It means a theory for which the lack of evidence which *should be* present is missing, because some group is conspiring to cover it up (purportedly).

    Feel free to use a different word to describe the distinction you want to make.

  37. Murat says

    Yes, we’re on the same page.
    On many occasions, different words are not being used to describe the distinctions when it comes to dismissing such popular stuff.
    That was the point I was trying to make.

  38. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #28, 30:

    I just wanted to express that I have a problem with every unsupported claim being treated the same, especially when categorized under conspiracy theory or similar titles […] some people or reason, such as Aron Ra, seem to tag every such claim a bit too easily

    On many occasions, different words are not being used to describe the distinctions

    Specific examples?

  39. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    I can’t tell right now exactly in which episodes, but there were a few times that I paused with kind of mild disagreement while listening to AXP hosts mock some nutjob callers by placing their claims in the same category with probabilities of such creatures existing.
    I admire Aron Ra and agree with his statements 95% of the time. However, (maybe in one episode of his videos series on falsehoods of creationism, or on another occasion) I remember very clearly that he mentioned Bigfoot, 9/11 deniers, Zeus, UFOS, Christian God etc. to be things that he registers as examples to “falsehoods”, like an expanding category for things that he discovered to be untrue during his late teen years, while stepping out of religion.
    I can’t recall word by word the sentences, but it was like he had drawn a line beyond which every claim signaled the same kind of delusional state of mind or a deliberate lie.
    I don’t think a belief in Bigfoot or Nessie is as crackpot as Zeus or Godzilla.
    I would find it much less probable if people claimed to see Bigfoot swimming in Loch Ness, and Nessie wandering in North American forests. Simply because, as I explained in the previous post, the consistencies between the alleged creatures and the habitats would disappear in that case.
    Recently, Jen talked about an ex of hers, a military personnel, who believed in the conspiracy involving chemtrails. That was new to me, so I looked it up and noticed that there are some people who claim the cloud-like traces left by planes are in fact chemical substances aimed at public for some reason.
    For example, in such a conspiracy theory, it would matter for me if the believer was saying every such trail was diffusing chemicals, or that, once in a while, the normal, physically understandable trails were being used to cover the spread of chemicals.
    In other words, much as I believe that the vast majority of popularly discussed weird stuff is false, I suspect that wrapping them all up in the same package is wrong.
    After all, people do conspire, there still are undiscovered species on this earth, and common knowledge of reasonable people does not automatically correspond to facts on every single case.
    While rightfully demanding the evidence, we should keep the mind open – which, I believe, is much different than “giving the benefit of a doubt” to every far fetched story or idea.

  40. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Personally, whinging about the very slight differences between elements of the same category to be more annoying than productive. In the context of AronRa’s talks, the distinction doesn’t matter, only the category. There are other contexts in which the distinctions may be important, but your spiel just makes me roll my eyes. You seem to be upset that an analogy is not exactly the same as the thing in question, which misses the entire point of an analogy.

  41. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #32:

    like an expanding category for things that he discovered to be untrue during his late teen years, while stepping out of religion. […] it was like he had drawn a line beyond which every claim signaled the same kind of delusional state of mind or a deliberate lie.

    @Monocle Smile #33:

    In the context of AronRa’s talks, the distinction doesn’t matter

     
    Video: AronRa – Long Boring Speech, Part 2 (10:10)

    (0:00)
    I read about how a pterosaur had been locked in limestone and broken loose alive. […] And I read about how there was this Jersey Devil. […] And I read about how it rained frogs in one place. And how mass spectral manifestations were seen by many many witnesses in other places. None of which really verifiable, but I read all of this and consumed it all as true.
     
    And I even believed that these sorts of stories gave me the edge over less enlightened people. Pretty soon I figured out that only some books seemed to know about things like flying saucers, pyramid power, Jesus, and bigfoot. Things like trancendental meditiation, parapsychology, and whatnot were never brought up in any of the books about paleontology or advances in space-age science. And I noticed it wasn’t possible to confirm some of the more stirring things I’d read about these subjects, even in other books that promoted these things. And I started noticing the number of things that couldn’t be true, assertions that really couldn’t be made, being made given the insufficient information and highly questionable sources.
     
    For just one instant, I considered the option of restricting my reading only to those things that supported the subjects that I believe in, but realized at once how intellectually dishonest that would be. I decided it was more important to discover how accurate my perspective really was, and to seek out the errors in my belief and thus improve my understanding, than it was to believe whatever I wanted.

     

    (9:10):
    My friend said with this huge sincere grin, […] “Just tell yourself it’s Jesus until you believe it!”
     
    He said that, and worse, he meant it. As obviously dishonest as that was, that’s what his faith was based on. He went on to become an ordained Southern Baptist minister and the principal of a creationist fundamentalist school, and has now moved on to become the administrator of a megachurch in Fort Worth.

    For completeness, here are parts one and three.

  42. Murat says

    @MS
    No. I reject the notion that the various myths & claims mentioned there are “elements of the same category”.

  43. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Oh, so some of those are demonstrably true? Because the category that matters is “not demonstrably true.”

  44. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    Thanks!
    I’m not sure if it was this exact speech that triggered me about the distinciton that I somewhat care about, but even if it was another version, one quote from this still serves my point:

    And I started noticing the number of things that couldn’t be true, assertions that really couldn’t be made, being made given the insufficient information and highly questionable sources.

    Even within this certain context, some, if not all, of the things he mentions (like, bigfoot) come short of being called “things that couldn’t be true”… The Bigfoot may be false, yes… But “couldn’t be true” is an overstatement for a vaguely defined creature which looks pretty much like the assembled outcome of unsupported claims.
    The talking snake or Zeus “couldn’t be true”… Bigfoot, not so… This is the distinction I believe to be relevant.

  45. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #37:

    The talking snake or Zeus “couldn’t be true”… Bigfoot, not so… This is the distinction I believe to be relevant.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Jon-Erik Beckjord

    He made guest appearances on national radio and television shows, but was criticized by fellow cryptozoologists and skeptics alike for not providing substantive evidence to back up his claims of the existence of paranormal beings.
    […]
    Beckjord explained away the need for physical evidence, such as hair, blood and bones, to prove the existence of Bigfoot by arguing that the creature is an “inter-dimensional shape-shifter that can warp in and out of physical reality.”
    […]
    To Beckjord, the Loch Ness monster (Nessie) was a space alien pet left on Earth in a form of energy that could interact with human beings. […] Beckjord admitted that the images might not be “exactly and positively” Nessie, but asserted that “90 percent of the people who have viewed the films believe the images are alive.”

    😀

  46. Murat says

    @Sky Captain #38
    Why do we need to assign all this stuff to one person’s particularly wild claims?
    I don’t know who Beckjord is, but Nessie is a centuries old myth. This person’s L.R.Hubbard’esque additions to the original and simple claim reminds me of Russell’s analogy over Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Beckjord’s embellished story being the movie while the real Lincoln equating to the actual myth, that is…
    This is exactly the kind of problem with creating a “category”: Just because one person can gather up certains myths and claims under a (maybe intentional, maybe profit-driven) context does not affect at all the level of probabilities regarding the original claims.
    On the other hand, this is giving a carte blanche to any con man out there for covering up any single fact by attaching to them weird stuff.
    For example, the conspiracy theory involving chemtrails: As I explained before, there is nothing “improbable” about it referring to a practical cover up in case the claim is that sometimes chemicals may be spread to air by using the trail as a visual masking technique. If somewhere, an evil government actually begins to practice this to get rid of a minority, one Beckjord can spice up the whole thing by saying it is stardust from Galaxy Z… Then, will we just mock any relevant reportings based on the whole idea being turned into a joke by someone?

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Is there anything resembling a coherent thought in all that babbling? Or is this just desperately defending a point that wasn’t there to be made in the first place?

  48. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    There is a fundamental flaw in your argument. You are attempting to argue that Bigfoot and Nessie have some higher level of plausibility than various other unsupported claims because their claimed biology matches their claimed environment. The point is, there are multiple other reasons which render them invalid. (I suggest you watch Eugenie Scott’s lecture on Bigfoot)

    Spider-man is not more plausible than Batman because he lives in a city that actually exists. Batman is not more plausible than Spider-man because he relies on technology, rather than possessing super-powers. They are both implausible, for different reasons.

    For Bigfoot or Nessie to actually exist a viable breeding population would be required, existing in sufficiently close proximity to humans to account for the ‘encounters’. That they should manage to do so without leaving any evidence of themselves, despite our specifically targeted interest in them, is no less implausible than a talking snake – it’s just implausible for different reasons.

  49. Murat says

    @RR

    For Bigfoot or Nessie to actually exist a viable breeding population would be required, existing in sufficiently close proximity to humans to account for the ‘encounters’. That they should manage to do so without leaving any evidence of themselves, despite our specifically targeted interest in them, is no less implausible than a talking snake – it’s just implausible for different reasons.

    If that were true, no new species would’ve been discovered during any time after the 19th century. “Targeted interest” works both ways, especially in the case of a creature that can understand the closing-in of the “other species” as a threat of being hunted.
    My claim is that, both Nessie and Bigfoot are less implausible than a talking snake.
    And I’m surprised that you can actually equate the probabilities for the existence of two vaguely defined creatures to that of a snake that can talk – something we know to be imporbable given the very limited brain functions (and to top that, the mouth structure) of any observed reptile.
    Objections to the claims depend on different reasons, true, and I’d totally agree with you if that was your statement. But you’re using the term implausibility.
    Crocoduck is implausible, but Bigfoot and Nessie are not.
    They will remain myths till some good evidence is provided, and I will not believe in the existence of either anytime before that, but that’s not the question here.

  50. indianajones says

    And before you accuse me of not addressing the argument (true btw) I will just say that the above as put by RR and MS is better than I ever could. I might put those arguments in slightly novel ways (read other but without adding to their substance) but at this point I would merely be bouncing the rubble.

  51. Murat says

    @RR #41
    I just finished watching the video you recommended. Here are my notes and comments:
    ¨
    – She never addresses the claim of a bigfoot existing as implasubile. On several occasions, she uses the term unusual, especially when providing some answers to why it is unlikely that a whole new species of a large and bipedal mammal can be discovered.
    ¨
    – During her speech, she mentions two colleagues of her, one whom she addresses as a very trustable skeptic, who do believe there to be a bigfoot. So, there are at least two people compatible with her with regards to their understanding of nature, two researchers from the same discipline that not just reject to dismiss the claim, but support it.
    ¨
    – When asked to express by giving a percentage the likelihood of bigfoot realy existing, she pauses for a long while… And then, goes, “I’d say 5%… But that’s only because I’m an optimist.”
    I was expecting her to say 0% or 0.1% depending on how she had approached the issue till that moment. But 5%, even with some optimism involved, was even way higher than how I would reply the same question.
    ¨
    – Unfortunately, the most notable part of the speech was when she resorted to what I see as intellectual dishonesty:
    She was telling people that such large mammals needes to eat a lot of stuff to maintain the necessary calories, and that was why they had huge guts, etc. And that, also, for the species to not go extinct, there needed to be a sufficient number of remaining examples, nothing less than several hundreds at least. And while matching that very rational approach to sightings across North America, she used the map of Texas and went on to talk about how such a group of mammals could feed themselves and not be noticed, not leave any carcasses or tracks behind, etc…
    That was where I lost confidence in her, because she totally did not need to do this trick in case she really had argument to back her rejection of the claim:
    Not Montana, not Northern California, not Saskatchewan, but Texas! The remotest state to come to mind when referring to Bigfoot!
    The very rational and scientific approach she is taking was notable:
    Yes, such a species would definitely need to have at least several hundreds of members in order to still exist during a time when they could interact with human population.
    Yes, they needed to feed themselves in a proper environment.
    Yes, there should be the kind of vast, unexplored geography for people to not come across their bones or bodily samples throughout al those decades.
    But, see, none of the criteria works for the dense woods up North, so, she shows a map of bigfoot spottings in Texas.
    ¨
    Thanks to the video, I did learn some things that are relevant to the topic of bigfoot.
    But nothing she says suggests bigfoot to be implausible.
    ¨
    If some decades ago we were told that there was a species on this earth that could be discovered 18,196 ft up a mountain in the Himalayas, in Japanese hot springs, at the bottom of the ocean and in Antarctica, that could withstand huge amounts of radiation, being heated to 150 °C, and being frozen almost to absolute zero… and that could even survive months after it was attached to a satellite and blasted into space… Would we think it was unlikely, or implausible?
    Well, today we know tardigrades are capable of survival under such circumstances.
    Yes, we knew they existed ever since late 18th century, but their stamina keeps surprising us.
    For one, I don’t see anything implausible about a hundred of examples to a distant cousin of Gigantopithecus having lived in the dense woods in North America till the 19th century. And that would be enough to say the myth was developed over a fact.
    Do we have the good evidence? No.
    Do I believe bigfoot exists? No.
    Do I think it is more plausible than a talking snake? Yes!
    Same goes for Nessie: Highly unlikely, most probably just a legend, but not implausible at all:

    The first recorded sighting of the monster was in 565 AD, when it was said to have snatched up and eaten a local farmer, before being forced back into the waters by St Columba.

    Over the years, rumours spread far and wide about ‘strange events’ at Loch Ness. Some believe that ancient Scottish myths about water creatures, like Kelpies and the Each Uisge (meaning ‘water horse’), contributed to the notion of a creature living in the depths of Loch Ness.

    In 1933, construction began on the A82 – the road that runs along the north shore of the Loch. The work involved considerable drilling and blasting and it is believed that the disruption forced the monster from the depths and into the open. Around this time, there were numerous independent sightings and, in 1934, London surgeon R. K. Wilson managed to take a photograph that appeared to show a slender head and neck rising above the surface of the water. Nessie hit the headlines and has remained the topic of fierce debate ever since.

    Skip the rest. What we need for palusibility is only the initial claim, not the spiced up and exploited hype but the original thing.
    If, by mid 6th century, there still were large underwater creatures capable of maintaining their numbers for survival, would one have been spotted in a very usual place? Of course not! It would require one of the most unusual habitats for the final members of the group to be seen. And Loch Ness is one such lake.
    Is there enough evidence? No.
    Do I believe it existed? No.
    Is it more plausible than a talking snake? Yes!
    Because its existence till 1400 years ago would not require us to start from scratch all we know about this earth and its habitants.
    It would suffice to just open up a new file as an extention to what we know about the history of life aquatic.

  52. Murat says

    @indianajones
    In the unlikely event of a bigfoot fossil (meaning, remnants of a huge, hairy, bipedal mammal) being discovered in North America, would that be astonishing enough a fact for you to consider there might have been a talking snake and an apple tree somewhere up there in space, sometime before humans walked the earth?

  53. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    If that were true, no new species would’ve been discovered during any time after the 19th century

    No, this is simply a false equivalence. If your comment was written with accurate equivalence, it would go something like this:
    If that were true, no new large animal species would have been discovered that has been ‘encountered’ multiple times by modern science-based societies, yet for which no compelling evidence has ever been found despite active searching for for over a century, including the use of the most up-to-date advanced technological equipment

    …and guess what? that is exactly the case – no such species has been discovered.
     

    Crocoduck is implausible, but Bigfoot and Nessie are not.

    I don’t think you understand the term ‘implausible’. As you have done with other words in previous threads, you seem to be making up your own personal definition.
    Merriam-Webster: “not having the appearance of truth or credibility”
    Dictionary.com/ / OED online: “(of an argument or statement) not seeming reasonable or probable; failing to convince”

    The idea that a large primate and/or a large aquatic reptile can exist in a viable breeding population without leaving any credible evidence of its existence, despite humans actively searching for such evidence for many decades, is neither reasonable, probable nor credible.
     

    And I’m surprised that you can actually equate the probabilities for the existence of two vaguely defined creatures to that of a snake that can talk – something we know to be imporbable given the very limited brain functions (and to top that, the mouth structure) of any observed reptile.

    Here you have given the reasons that render the talking snake implausible, but left out the reasons that render the cryptozoo claims implausible.
    As I said previously, the two are are implausible for different reasons. Neither of them is convincing, neither of them appears reasonable or credible.

    Your argument that Nessie and/or Bigfoot are somehow more plausible because they are ill-defined is also wrong. Something vaguely defined is not inherently more probable / plausible than something specifically defined. ‘Less falsifiable’ is not equivalent to ‘more probable’ – the two are not linked.

  54. Murat says

    @RR
    In the unlikely event of a bigfoot fossil (meaning, remnants of a huge, hairy, bipedal mammal) being discovered in North America, would that be astonishing enough a fact for you to consider there might have been a talking snake and an apple tree somewhere up there in space, sometime before humans walked the earth?

  55. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    I’ve just seen your lengthy post on Eugenie Scott’s lecture. I’m too tired to respond right now – I’ll hit the main issues tomorrow. However, before I go, I did notice this:

    Unfortunately, the most notable part of the speech was when she resorted to what I see as intellectual dishonesty:

    That was where I lost confidence in her, because she totally did not need to do this trick in case she really had argument to back her rejection of the claim:

    I just want to refer you to the first point that I addressed in my previous post ie. “no new species would’ve been discovered” etc. etc.
    Apply the same standards to yourself. You’ve made a blatant false equivalence – that’s clear intellectual dishonesty. You totally did not need to do this trick if you really had the argument to back your claim.

  56. Murat says

    @RR #49
    Ok mate, no need to rush… I am not trying to change anyone’s view on what I see as a “malfunctioning category”. Just trying to understand if the distincitons I notice matter to any other skeptics or not.
    In the case of my comments on the video: You saying she and I sharing the same kind of intellectual dishonesty (aside from shifting the issue to “argumentum ad hominem”) seems to suggest that you also think Texas was the worst (and, a deliberate) example to provide safe grounds for the criteria she was presenting at the moment.
    It would be sad for any academic if my (alleged) carelessness, mistake, amorality or incompetence when writing a blog post corresponded to a crucial part of their prepared presentation related to their field of expertise.
    Still, I find her notable overall and will look up for other videos of her on similar subjects.

  57. Monocle Smile says

    Classic Murat.
    – Find a nit to pick that doesn’t need picking
    – Fail to understand why others don’t care about the picked nit despite repeated explanation
    – Write rambling, exhausting posts that drain most folks of all available fucks to give

  58. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    #50

    You saying she and I sharing the same kind of intellectual dishonesty (aside from shifting the issue to “argumentum ad hominem”) seems to suggest that you also think Texas was the worst (and, a deliberate) example to provide safe grounds for the criteria she was presenting at the moment.
    It would be sad for any academic if my (alleged) carelessness, mistake, amorality or incompetence when writing a blog post corresponded to a crucial part of their prepared presentation related to their field of expertise.

    This is an example of taking a specific point and drawing a bunch of unjustified inferences from it. I didn’t say you and Scott ‘share the same kind’ of intellectual dishonesty. I do not accept your characterization of her argument as intellectually dishonest (see below). I’ve drawn no equivalence between your blog comment and her prepared presentation.
    The point I made was that if you are going to claim that intellectual dishonesty is an indicator of the lack of a strong argument, then the same logic can be applied to your own intellectual dishonesty.
    The rest of what you’ve come up with is all your own invention, none of it comes from me.

    As for the ‘ad hom’ point. What I did was to reflect your words back to you, almost verbatim. If I’m ad-homm’ing you, it’s because that’s what you just did to Scott. How ironic it is that you accuse me of ‘shifting the issue to ad hominem’ without realizing that the words I’m using originated with you.
     
    #48

    In the unlikely event of a bigfoot fossil (meaning, remnants of a huge, hairy, bipedal mammal) being discovered in North America, would that be astonishing enough a fact for you to consider there might have been a talking snake and an apple tree somewhere up there in space, sometime before humans walked the earth?

    There is no link between the two. If any evidence of a bigfoot is discovered that tells us nothing whatsoever about talking snakes. If we find a fossil of a snake with a large brain and a developed palate, that tells us nothing whatsoever about bigfeet. I do not understand why you need this explained – you clearly possess sufficient cognitive skill to see that you are drawing a non-existent link here, so why ask this nonsense question?
     
    #45
    Re ‘implausible’, I can only repeat that you seem to think it has some special significance other than its actual meaning. I’ve quoted two dictionary definitions in post #47. Scott’s entire lecture is to the point that bigfoot claims do not seem reasonable or probable, that they fail to convince. That is an argument that they are implausible, whether or not she uses the term.
     

    During her speech, she mentions two colleagues of her, one whom she addresses as a very trustable skeptic, who do believe there to be a bigfoot. So, there are at least two people compatible with her with regards to their understanding of nature, two researchers from the same discipline that not just reject to dismiss the claim, but support it.

    And? There are some biologists who believe in the creation myth. There are some climate scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change. Does this validate those points of view?
     

    Unfortunately, the most notable part of the speech was when she resorted to what I see as intellectual dishonesty: She was telling people that such large mammals needes to eat a lot of stuff to maintain the necessary calories, and that was why they had huge guts, etc.

    And while matching that very rational approach to sightings across North America, she used the map of Texas

    Not Montana, not Northern California, not Saskatchewan, but Texas! The remotest state to come to mind when referring to Bigfoot!

    But, see, none of the criteria works for the dense woods up North, so, she shows a map of bigfoot spottings in Texas.

    You make it sound like Scott is using Texas to make the argument that no bigfoot exists anywhere, because of lack of food. Not only is this not what she’s saying, it’s pretty ridiculous to accuse her of it. It is patently obvious that there are plenty of environments that have sufficient food to support large primates. Scott would have to be incredibly obtuse to attempt such an obvious deception, and she is clearly not obtuse.

    Try dialling down your outrage and listen again to what she is actually saying. Yes, she uses Texas to make her point about food requirements in the environment. That’s because it makes exactly that point – it is not plausible that a large primate lives in Texas because the environment does not have the food to support it.
    In that section she is talking about the scientific approach to bigfoot requiring that it be considered in the light of existing scientific knowledge. She says:
    “how do these observations fit with everything else we know from science? If we know from science that big-bodied primates have to eat a lot of food, then what does that tell us about the carrying capacity of the environment?”

    When we consider the Texas sightings in the light of existing scientific knowledge, it becomes clear that they are not plausible, because Texas does not have sufficient food to support these types of large primates.

    So no, I don’t accept that Scott is being intellectually dishonest. I think you went into the talk all prepared to get outraged at something, and this was what you’ve latched onto.
     

    When asked to express by giving a percentage the likelihood of bigfoot realy existing, she pauses for a long while… And then, goes, “I’d say 5%… But that’s only because I’m an optimist.”

    But 5%, even with some optimism involved, was even way higher than how I would reply the same question.

    I think you are placing way too much significance on the actual number. It was an on-the-spot response to an unexpected question, which, by the way, was a question about confidence level, not likelihood (“how sure are you?”). Even if it had been a carefully considered assessment, (which this clearly was not) it’s not an objective measurement, it’s a subjective estimate. In that context 1% is not significantly different from 5%, all either number tells you is that the confidence level is very low. In fact, she says “less than 5%”, and immediately follows with the joke “but that’s because I’m an optimist”, both of which support my point.
     

    If some decades ago we were told that there was a species on this earth that could be discovered 18,196 ft up a mountain in the Himalayas, in Japanese hot springs, at the bottom of the ocean and in Antarctica, that could withstand huge amounts of radiation, being heated to 150 °C, and being frozen almost to absolute zero… and that could even survive months after it was attached to a satellite and blasted into space… Would we think it was unlikely, or implausible?

    Yes, at the time that would have seemed implausible. I really think your entire argument is based on a misunderstanding of the word.

  59. Murat says

    @RR

    There is no link between the two. If any evidence of a bigfoot is discovered that tells us nothing whatsoever about talking snakes. If we find a fossil of a snake with a large brain and a developed palate, that tells us nothing whatsoever about bigfeet.

    Thank you!
    This is why I am arguing that the promotion of skepticism should better stay away from sweeping all unproven things under the same carpet. When people begin to equate every myth, every piece of fake-lore and every fictional creature to the very dangerously manufactured, very complicated mechanisms of organized religions, the approach backfires on a social level.
    .

    Yes, at the time that would have seemed implausible. I really think your entire argument is based on a misunderstanding of the word.

    That may be true.
    The way I understand the common usage of the word is pretty close to “improbable” and “incredible”. And I assume the word the have flexibility within itself, allowing us to talk about “degrees” of plausibility. This is why I have been saying bigfoot was “more plausible” than a talking snake.
    @indianajones insinuates that bigfoot is as implausible to him as a talking apple tree is, and I think this approach is also in contradiction with what Scott tells in that video.
    Do you agree with me on this one, or not?
    I don’t think she would mention “5%” as the probability for an actual talking apple tree to exist.
    .
    The categorical way of mocking and ostracizing as practiced by some from the younger generation of skeptics, IMHO, is something that usually backfires.
    Especially during their teenage years, everyone is more open to things that show the world to be more surprising and colorful than it will actually turn out to be in our mid-ages. So, I find it quite normal for any teenager living close to the woods to believe in bigfoot. And I claim that, grouping such mythical stuff with the heavily complicated and totally implausible fabrications of organized religions may interfere with individuals’ own natural process of growing out of religion.
    I respect Aron Ra for the way he has been exposing the inconsistencies and the forked tongues of organized religions. And if one day he expresses that he now thinks bigfoot to be not as unlikely as he thought before, that would change nothing about how I perceive the guy. I’d still watch his videos and appreciate the reasoning and the research. Because, I place such stuff on separate shelves. Because, as you said, “There is no link between the two. If any evidence of a bigfoot is discovered that tells us nothing whatsoever about talking snakes.”

  60. Mobius says

    @11 Don Baker

    Theory says that protons decay, having a very (very!) long half-life, but the last I heard this has not been observed.

    Neutrons do decay. Free neutrons have a rather short half-life, about 15 minutes. Neutrons within a nucleus can decay if the number of neutrons v. number of protons is an unstable configuration. Example, Carbon-14. IIRC, this is called Beta Decay. The neutron decays into a proton, a high energy electron and a neutrino.

  61. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    The fact that there is no link between a talking snake and bigfoot does not mean they cannot be categorized together. They both fit into the category “not demonstrably true”, which, as MS said back in #36, is the category that skepticism is concerned with.
     

    When people begin to equate every myth, every piece of fake-lore and every fictional creature to the very dangerously manufactured, very complicated mechanisms of organized religions, the approach backfires on a social level.

    First, no-one is making that equivalence. The only skeptic I’m aware of who can’t differentiate between the ‘complicated and dangerous mechanisms of organized religion’ and the mythological beliefs that underpin that organization is, apparently, you. I don’t see a lot of people failing to understand that when we say god is no more real than fairies, we are not accusing fairies of shielding kiddy-fiddlers in order to protect their authority.

    Second, ‘backfires on a social level’ is just you making shit up.
     

    I find it quite normal for any teenager living close to the woods to believe in bigfoot.

    Believing in things for bad reasons is related to learning, not to age. Children who are taught about clear thinking are less likely to believe in mythology. Adults who have never learned how to think clearly continue to believe in bigfoot and gods (and fake news).
     

    And I claim that, grouping such mythical stuff with the heavily complicated and totally implausible fabrications of organized religions may interfere with individuals’ own natural process of growing out of religion.

    Now you’re inventing a ‘natural process of growing out of religion’.
    There are a shit-ton of people who don’t subscribe to organized religion but who believe they ‘have a personal relationship with Jesus’. People don’t grow out of magical thinking – they learn out of it.
     

    I’d still watch his videos and appreciate the reasoning and the research. Because, I place such stuff on separate shelves.

    The irony is that you are the only one who is showing any problem with maintaining separation between ideas.

    If Aaron Ra suddenly became convinced that bigfoot was real without any change in the evidence, that would cause me to question his skepticism. However, that would not render his arguments on other subjects worthless, because rational thinkers assess arguments on their merits, not according to who makes them.
     

    @indianajones insinuates that bigfoot is as implausible to him as a talking apple tree is

    No, you are again drawing an unjustified inference from someone’s comments. What he actually said was that he would no more change his ideas about talking snakes based on a bigfoot discovery than he would become convinced of bigfoot by the discovery of a talking apple tree. That is a statement that the two ideas are not connected in either direction, it says nothing about their relative plausibility.

    If you genuinely value clear thinking and rational argument this is something you really need to get better at: paying attention to what people are actually saying, rather than interpreting their comments to get whatever you need to suit your argument.

  62. indianajones says

    @ Murat and MS ‘Because, I place such stuff on separate shelves.’ Yep, there’s that Nit alright. I don’t care that you want to put different implausible things on different shelves. Do what ya gotta do dude, and don;t be surprised that I am un-interested in intellectual renovations involving more shelves.

    @SkyCaptain Allow me to modify: About as much as an apple tree with well developed enough vocal cords and so on to sing every part simultaneously of the entire score of Phantom of the Opera in perfect pitch and without taking a breath then 😉

  63. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @indianajones #69:
    Yeah, talking != communication.
    Broadening it that much would make rattlesnakes viable solutions.
    Sometimes I just can’t resist gratuitous boom-de-yada. 😉

  64. a says

    I like how “now” is always the end times, because we are stuck with a moron for president. What about WW2, the plague, 1918 flu pandemic, or the countless genocides over the last several thousand years? Hell, even the Cuban missile crisis seems like a closer brush with the end of humanity than anything going on in 2017.